Months after China banned Canadian canola imports, a new survey reports that Canadian farmers expect to plant fewer canola seeds this year.
On Wednesday, Statistics Canada said farmers will allot more land for barley, corn for grain, dry peas, lentils, and oats and fewer acres for canola, wheat, and soybeans in 2019.
That’s according to the agency’s monthly Field Crop Survey, which collected information on field crop seeded areas in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta from May 14 to June 11.
Farmers reported planting 21 million acres of canola in 2019, which is down 8 per cent from 2018, the survey said.
The decrease was attributed to lower prices for canola this year thanks, in part, to China’s ban on canola imports from Canada and high global supply of oilseeds, Statistics Canada said.
In March, Beijing halted imports of Canadian canola seeds alleging they discovered pests in two shipments. The abrupt ban came during a tense time in diplomatic relations between the two countries following the arrest of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December.
Canadian officials have said Beijing is purposefully targeting canola, and now meat exports, to exert pressure on the government to release Wanzhou during the ongoing diplomatic row.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called China’s efforts to block canola imports “unjustified” and a product of the wider dispute involving Wanzhou during a press conference in Paris. He said China is “inventing excuses” to bar Canadian shipments of canola. Trudeau also expressed concern that Beijing would target other Canadian products.
On Tuesday, that worry became a reality when the Chinese Embassy said it asked Canada to suspend all meat exports because they said they discovered residue from a restricted feed additive in a batch of Canadian pork products.
Earlier this year, China suspended import permits for three Canadian pork producers.